Culture crime news: 31 Mar–06 Apr 2014


Hot this week: FBI find thousands of illicit antiquities in home of 90-year-old collector

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Bring Back the Monuments Men
2 April 2014, The Wall Street Journal

“Monuments men” highlight WWII looting, but stealing culture has been around for ages
5 April 2014, Statesman

Auction houses should do more to root out looted antiquities
2 April 2014, Apollo

Anonymous Swiss Collector On BBC Radio Scotland talking about antiquities trafficking
5 April 2014, Anonymous Swiss Collector

South and East Asia

Artifacts’ illegal excavation probed (South Korea; Allegedly excavated and sold by head of Govt-funded antiquities protection non-profit)
2 April, Korea JoongAng Daily

BJP in power, but Ram temples plundered in Rewa (India; Murder of 90-year-old priest while temple is looted)
(Older news) 3 March 2014; The Times of India

Village keeps its faith as it awaits Nataraja’s return
31 March 2014, The Times of India

Three Kapoor statues from Tamil Nadu still with NGA
31 March 2014, The Times of India

National Gallery Shiva statue return ‘should include gift of goodwill’
2 April 2014, The Canberra Times

Tirthankara antique idol goes missing from Vellore
2 April 2014, The Times of India

FIR in idol theft case mandatory (India)
3 April 2014, The Hindu

Art thief Kapoor’s hand suspected in missing temple idol from Tamil Nadu
3 April 2014, The Times of India

Blogger gives crucial leads in idol hunt
3 April 2014, The Times of India

‘Panchaloha idols belong to 13 AD’: Archaeologists (India; idols found dumped in a well and presumed stolen)
3 April 2014, The Times of India

Stolen Nepali statues gathering dust in Paris
2 April 2014, EKantipur

Stolen idols: Preservation and cataloguing must complement repatriation of stolen Nepali art
4 April 2014, EKatipur

West Asia

Police confiscate ancient coffins from tomb raiders in Jerusalem
31 March 2014, The Jerusalem Post

Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici (‘Naked Archaeologist’) sues academic for libel (Israel; controversy over Tomb of Jesus shows)
1 April 2014


Sudan denies selling artifacts to Qatar
30 March 2014, Star Africa

Ancient statues stolen from Sudan heritage site
2 April 2014, The Sun Daily

Egypt: Antiquities Minister, U.S. Official Discuss Efforts to Protect Egypt’s Heritage
3 April 2014, All Africa

Egyptian ministries working to get back stolen cartonnage
6 April 2014, Ahram Online

Tunisia plans to return stolen Mask of Gorgon to Algeria
3 April 2014, Middle East Online

Negligence, Corruption Threaten Tunisia’s Heritage Sites
4 April 2014, Tunisia Alive

It’s Time for Africa’s Stolen Artefacts to Come Home
4 April 2014, Think Africa Press


Scythian Gold Caught in Ukraine Dispute
30 March 2014, The Wall Street Journal

Sevso Just Beginning for Hungary’s Central Bank Art Purchase Program
31 March 2014, Art Market Monitor

Thebes: Ancient Priceless Coins Found in Burglar’s House
3 April 2014, Greek Reporter

Barbed wire from Auschwitz found in tourists’ suitcase
31 March 2014, Times of Israel

Germany returns art stolen by Nazis in 1939 to Poland
1 April 2014, BBC

Hearings in Croatia-Serbia case before ICJ to end on Tuesday (“Croatia demanded that Serbia give back 25,000 works of art stolen from 45 museums during the war”)
31 March 2014, Dalje

Stolen Gauguin painting ‘hung on factory worker’s wall’
2 April 2014, BBC News

Stolen Gauguin and Bonnard paintings recovered in Italy
2 April 2014, AFP

Italy heritage sleuths launch stolen art app
2 April 2014, Digital Journal

Auction houses ‘handling stolen goods’ (UK auction houses pull Medici items; by Peter Watson; Paywall)
2 April 2014, The Times

‘Looted’ artefacts removed from auction (UK)
2 April 2014, BBC News

Assyrian stele withdrawn from auction
2 April 2014, The Art Newspaper

“Cursed” stela pulled from London auction over looting concerns
3 April 2014, Anonymous Swiss Collector

Unique 600-year-old brass plaque stolen from Herefordshire church
2 April 2014, Hereford Times

Stolen armour and weapony worth thousands returned to Stansted Mountfitchet castle (Amour is fake, as is what is on top of Mountfitchet)
1 April 2014, Cambridge News

Police Scotland chief in gold wreath legal wrangle
5 April 2014, The Scotsman

De Sade’s stolen 12m-long manuscript ‘The 120 Days of Sodom’ returning to France
4 April 2014, Anonymous Swiss Collector


“No Robes el Pasado”, UNESCO Perú y el Ministerio de Cultura presentaron publicación (“Don’t Rob the Past”, UNESCO Peru and the Ministry of Culture present a publication”); Find PDF of comic here.
March 2014, Oficina de la UNESCO en Lima

Two pots, two stories: vignette on the looting of Guatemala’s Maya past
1 April 2014, Anonymous Swiss Collector

Seized artifacts returned to Montana museum
31 March 2014, The Montana Standard

Seized artifacts returned to Custer-themed museum years after being taken by federal agents
31 March 2014, The Republic

FBI seizes Native American, other artifacts at rural Indiana home
2 April 2014, CBS News

FBI working with artifact collector to return items
3 April 2014, The Shelbyville News

Knoedler Forgery Lawsuit Names Art Historian as Defendant
2 April 2014, The New York Times

Oceania and Australia

Second Australian gallery removes stolen Indian artefact from display
2 April 2014, IBN Live

In other news

The Strange Case of Space History Theft Ends with an Austin Auction
1 April 2014, Houston Press

National Geographic Channel Pulls ‘Nazi War Diggers’ Series
31 March 2014, New York Times

Museums face backlash when selling precious art
29 March 2014, Delaware Online